Chauncey Devega over at We Are Respectable Negroes has a clever profile of men like Stack, whom he calls the “Angry White Man”:
He usually listens to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. He prays at the mantle of Jim Crow 2.0 and Pat Buchanan. The Angry White Man loves dressing up as one of the “founding fathers” as he embraces a juvenile and sophomoric understanding of The Constitution. When most deranged he writes political manifestos and commits acts of domestic terrorism. I now introduce to you the newest entry in the rogues gallery that is the Angry White Man run amok: Joseph Stack, anti-IRS domestic terrorist who on Thursday crashed his plane into an office building in Austin, Texas.
Chauncey then goes on to ask is if this story would be covered any different if Stack was an Arab, a Muslim, a brown- or dark-skinned man or “if they were calling for secession, accusing the President of being a traitor, and indulging in seditious behavior, how quickly would the dots be inexorably drawn between this domestic terrorist and the racial group to which he belonged?”
Will Bunch at the Huffington Posts asks basically the same question. He ponders why many in this country are hesitant to call Stack a murderer:
Second of all, aren’t these the same people who jump all over anybody who calls an al-Qaeda or Taliban thug a “murderer” instead of a “terrorist,” even though at the end of the day that’s what even the people who bombed the World Trade Center were — low-life, no-good killers, a notion that even Republicans understood back in Reagan’s day? But now these same people refuse to condemn Joe Stack, let alone call him what he really was: A cheap, heartless murderer.
The one thing that’s clear from Stack’s vain and nonsensical “manifesto” is that the man was not insane, just an egomaniac who gave no thought to the innocent person he was about to kill, to that man’s family or even his own family that he left behind to deal with the mess…after he burned them out of their home. The only insane people here are the ones who call Joe Stack a hero. He wasn’t a hero. He was a coward. To see Joe Stack as something more than a two-bit killer is the greatest case of adding insult to injury that I have ever seen.
All this is fascinating to me. Are we really, as a whole, discriminatory in our belief as to who’s a terrorists based on skin color, nationality and religion. Has our post-9/11 view of the world colored our perception of who is really a threat to us? Even U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa was reported to have sympathetic views of Stack and his actions. Here’s YouTube video posted by Think Progress:
Really? So, a shared hatred for IRS makes it okay for a man to fly a plane into a government building and take the life of, Vernon Hunter, an innocent Vietnam veteran?
I wish I could say Rep. King is alone in his views, but he’s not. Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina also “>expressed her belief that Stack’s actions were remnants of the “hopelessness many in our society feel.” Even Senate newbie Scott Brown gave his opinion about Stack’s terrorist attack on a government entity: In an interview with Fox News’ Neal Cavuto:
Brown: “It’s certainly tragic, and I feel for the families, obviously, that are being affected by it. And I don’t know if it’s related, but I can just sense, not only in my election but since being here in Washington, people are frustrated. They want transparency. They want their elected officials to be accountable and open and, you know, talk about the things that are affecting their daily lives. So, I’m not sure if there’s a connection. I certainly hope not. But we need to do things better.”
FNC’s Cavuto: “Invariably, people are going to look at this type of incident, Senator, and say, well, that’s where some of this populist rage gets you. Isn’t that a bit extreme?”
Brown: “Yes, of course it’s extreme. You don’t know anything about the individual. He could have had other issues. Certainly, no one likes paying taxes, obviously. But the way we’re trying to deal with things, and have been in the past, at least until I got here, is there’s such a logjam in Washington, and people want us to do better. They want us to help solve the problems that are affecting Americans in a very real way.”
As these bloggers have noted, this type of sentiment is baffling not only because it represents a clear double standard as to who is classified as a terrorists, it’s also baffling because you have our country’s public servants expressing sympathy towards a terrorists. How is this possible in an age of any politician who opposes the War on Terror and the unjust invasion of Iraq to fight Al Qaeda is called unpatriotic and un-American? How is it tolerable that our politicians are able to make these kinds of statements about a man who clearly was in sound mind and body before he committed his terroristic act? Do these politicians believe in this type of action against our government entities or are they just pandering to the largely white,
racist, anti-government, anti-tax “movement” underway?
I firmly believe that if minority street thugs were writing these kinds of manifestos and making these types of statements towards our government, the FBI and CIA would be more than ready to march into neighborhoods and conduct raids. This country has been more than lax with the treat posed by white supremacists, reactionary, anti-government groups to our democracy. But, as we have repeatedly witnessed over the past two decades, domestic terrorism has proven to be just as dangerous as the likes of Al Qaeda. Angry white men (and women) who rail against government intrusion and entities are just as crazy and determined to take action as the radical brown-skinned men and women who strap bombs to their bodies and take the lives of innocent victims in the of religion.
But, as some of our leaders, the media through its coverage and by the glorification of Stack’s anti-IRS beliefs have shown us, as long as you are a white male, your actions aren’t terrorism; your actions are that of a man fed up with the government holding you down.